VTA slams councils on clearways

Trucking lobby backs extended clearway times in congestion-plagued Melbourne, firing a broadside at councils opposing the move

March 11, 2010

Extended clearway times in Melbourne should be enforced despite the protests of councils, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says.

VTA Chief Executive Phil Lovel says it is vital the Brumby Government continues extended clearways, which add another three hours to no-stopping times, in Melbourne and has launched an attack on those opposing the move.

Lovel says it is not efficient use of limited infrastructure to allow cars to park on roads, citing growing emissions and rising congestion as a reason to extend clearway times.

He says councils fighting against the move are holding the freight industry and commuters to ransom because of the financial cost of congestion, which was estimated at $3 billion in 2005.

"The VTA supports the introduction of extended clearway times and sees this as an absolutely necessary step in addressing Melbourne’s congestion problems. The changes will benefit the entire community and the economy and we cannot afford to have councils holding this up," Lovel says.

"The freight industry is also affected by clearways, but has to work around it just as local councils and strip shop-centre owners should."

Referring to the growth in the freight task compared to general traffic, Lovel says the industry is finding it harder to meet schedules and keep costs down due to traffic levels.

Saying the clearways initiative must not fail, Lovel has also called for it to be expanded to other routes hit by congestion.

The Yarra and Stonnington councils earlier this month launched Supreme Court action against the Victorian Government over the clearways.

Both councils claim there was a lack of consultation on the issue and want the clearway times overturned.

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